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5/1/2003: (San Diego, CA) - Kathi Diamant, author of the newly
released biography of Dora Diamant, Kafka’s Last Love, will
join an impressive lineup of acclaimed authors and rising stars,
poets, artists and academics, who will be celebrating the literary
heritage of Paris, at the Shakespeare and Company Literary and
Arts Festival in Paris, France, June 9 - 16, 2003.
Diamant, a resident of San Diego Calif., will be discussing
her first book, a biography of Dora Diamant (no known relation),
the mysterious woman at the side of literary giant Franz Kafka
during the last year of his life, on Saturday, June 14, at the
famed Left Bank bookstore, Shakespeare and Company-Paris, located
in the heart of the 5th arrondissement. Diamant, director of the
Kafka Project at San Diego State University, will share her experiences
retracing Dora’s life throughout Europe, Israel, the USSR
and the UK, and will feature Dora’s meeting with famed actor/director
Jean-Louis Barrault in Paris in 1950.
Amidst the haunts of Ernest Hemmingway, James Joyce, Anais Nin
and Henry Miller, the Shakespeare and Company-Paris Literary and
Arts Festival will also feature presentations from Jung Chang,
the author whose battle for freedom echoes the liberty Paris has
historically provided for suppressed writers, who will be reading
from her works. Pulitzer Prize-winner C K Williams will be reading
his poetry, along with acclaimed London poet Mark Ford.
Published in April 2003, Dora Diamant’s first biography
is receiving national attention as a gripping literary detective
story, “a demanding and heroic act of literary sleuthing
to piece together Dora’s remarkable story ” [Booklist]
and “a welcome, well-written addition to Kafka studies,
valuable of its portrayal of the writer as a human being, not
a monument.” [Kirkus Reviews] Kafka’s Last Love is
the result of two decades of in-depth personal research, and solves
many of the mysteries of Dora’s previously unknown life
with original sources and interviews, files from Nazi and Comintern
archives and Dora’s own unpublished letters and diaries.
Kafka’s Last Love paints a portrait “far different
from a grim, inaccessible genius” according the The New
York Times, and illuminates the remarkable relationship between
the writer and the Polish Hasidic woman who provided the final
happy chapter of his life. "Kathi's captivating account of
their brief but intense time together illuminates both Kafka's
genius and Dora's joie de vivre, and serves as prelude to the
traumas Dora faced after Kafka's death." –Booklist
(More reviews below)
The original Shakespeare and Company was opened at 12-rue de
l'Odeon, Paris, in 1921 by Sylvia Beach, a young woman from New
England. For twenty years it thrived, and it was from here that
Europe first heard of the writings by new American talent, like
Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Throughout the 1920s literati frequented
her shop: George Bernard Shaw, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Paul
Valèry, André Gide, James Joyce.
The Shakespeare and Company of today is located at 37-rue de
la Bucherie, Paris, on the Left Bank. Owner George Whitman, another
east coast American bibliophile, opened the bookstore in 1951,
as Le Mistral. Then in 1964, having secured Sylvia Beach's agreement,
Whitman resurrected the Shakespeare and Company name, to honor
and continue the ethos and traditions of the former famous bookshop.
The festival begins noon on Monday, June 9, with homage to those
whose presence still inhabits the Left Bank, including writers
who frequented Sylvia Beach’s original store on rue de l’Odeon;
Joyce, Hemingway, Andre Gide, Jean Cocteau, Ezra Pound, Andre
Breton and many others.
The festival will finish on 'Bloomsday', turning full circle.
Writers, academics, actors and musicians will celebrate and examine
Joyce's role in transforming 20th century literature, as well
as Sylvia Beach's own role in publishing Ulysses. The Shakespeare
and Company festival will be presented in three parts: In the
first part, the Lost Generation of the 1920s, a selection of writers,
academics and artists will celebrate the 'Lost Generation' who
gathered around Sylvia Beach's famed bookshop during the 1920s.
The 'Beat Generation' will follow on June 11 and 12 with poetry
readings, new plays and jazz will recreate the left bank atmosphere
around George Whitman's bookstore in the 50s and 60s. The third
part looks at writers of today, both established and rising.
Kathi Diamant will be available for interviews in Paris on June
9-16. For more information on the festival contact firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.shakespeareco.org.
Shakespeare and Co is located at 37, rue de la Bucherie, 75005,
Paris, Tel: 0033(0) 1 43 26 96 50